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Top 5 Alaska experiences

jwr
Houston, tx
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Top 5 Alaska experiences

just curious what some of the destination experts..and other travelers and residents...would consider to be their best Alaska experiences...as a guide for future visitors....something you have seen in alaska that you would highly recommend to others. thanks.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

Well my top five list changes from time to time, but today I would have to say my top five experiences have been. . .

#5 Iditarod Race w/ media credentials (Ceremonial & Official Start days) - March 2011

#4 Photographing the aurora borealis in Fairbanks - March 2007

#3 Silver Salmon Creek Lodge bear viewing in Lake Clark NP - Sept. 2010

#2 RVing Alaska for 15 days starting/ending Fairbanks - Aug./Sept. 2010

#1 Denali Road Lottery Weekend - Sept. 2011

Specific tours that would be in my top five:

#5 Riverboat Discovery - Fairbanks (Sept. 2010)

#4 Sled dog mushing at Dallas Seavey's Kennel - Willow (March 2010 & 2011)

#3 Prince Wm Sound Wildlife & Icy Bay Cruise w/ Capt Gerry & Sound Eco Cruises (June 2006)

$2 Knik Glacier Tour w/Hunter Creek Adventures - Palmer (Aug. 2010)

#1 Denali Flightseeing + Glacier Landing w/K2 - Talkeetna (Aug. 2010)

I'm interested in seeing what others have to say too.

Edited: 28 August 2013, 04:44
Nashville, TN
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2. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

We've only recently experienced our first trip to Alaska, but here are our 5 favorites on our 16-day trip:

1) viewing Denali with the sun shining on it while relaxing on the deck at McKinley Princess lodge

2) boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park -- a park ranger provided commentary on Major Marine

3) glaciers, glaciers, glaciers! -- Portage Glacier boat tour, Mendenhall, Exit, Holgate, Aialik, Byron

4) seeing wildlife in Denali

5) train ride from Skagway to Carcross, Yukon with guided shuttle return to town

Seattle, Washington
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for Seattle
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3. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

Of the many...

Having a Bowhead whale come up under our 14’ aluminum boat and lifting it intentionally – twice - while we were halibut fishing a half mile off St. George Island in the Pribilofs. My Aleut friends were asleep, the result of a little too much schnapps the night before. Close encounter of the OMG kind.

Watching (from a light plane at a discreet distance) three wolves chase, circle, feint, attack and take down a caribou on the Alaska Peninsula near Cold Bay.

Flying with Jack Jefford, one of the legendary early bush pilots, in his Bonanza, to Cantwell from Anchorage, on a clear winter day (probably 20 below) when Denali looked like the whole world through the plane’s windshield. He told us stories of his flights with his wife Ruth (also a bush pilot) as well as adventures with Bob Reeve, Noel Wien and others.

Sitting outside on the deck (freezing our tushies off) on New Years at a friend’s self-built house in Rainbow Valley listening to Handel, with the Northern Lights swirling overhead.

My first winter trip on the ferry from Seattle to Juneau, watching the land slide by through the mist and snowy trees. Silence and magic.

haines, alaska
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4. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

Ooooh, like a box of chocolates......every one is a winner....

Based up on 10 years of visiting Alaska and 12 years of living here, mine are.....

#1. Renting a double kayak in Glacier Bay.......what an experience being on our own in Bartlett Cove, the morning drizzle had stopped, the water was like glass, until the whales started breaching around us.......we beached the kayak on an island and looked for shells, found bear prints in the sand instead.......absolutely the best memory of our visits to Alaska.......

#2. Staying at an oceanfront vacation cabin for a week in Juneau.....it came with a small boat and I will never forget the sight of Popbear coming up the beach to the cabin, proudly holding two nice dungeness crabs over his head......the first crab he had ever caught.......

#3, I know, I know, another fishing story.......this time my mom was visiting and was sitting on a rock next to Chilkoot River while I was fishing from the shore......I had reeled in a nice salmon, got it almost up to the gravel when swoooop !......a bald eagle dives down, right at my feet and takes off with the fish !.....It was his fish afterall, and I was also relieved to see the line and lure fall back to earth in tact......

#4. Every time I take the Rainbow tour from Homer to Seldovia......what a magical trip that is......all those cute sea otters, puffins and most often whales, too......

#5. Touring Glacier Bay, either by cruise ship or by the smaller boat tour from the lodge......

Bristol, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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5. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

Here are mine:

#5 Lake Clark National Park and hiking the Telaquana Trail/Visiting Dick Proeneke's cabin

#4 Little Diomede, it was just very interesting and very different

#3 Rafting the Noatak River, just amazing experience

#2 Nome Iditarod Finish 1996 (25th anniversary), I had only been in Alaska a couple years and this was great fun.

#1 Brooks Camp/Valley of 10,000 Smokes, the bears were amazing but I got to spend 3 night in the caldera and it is just so different

Honorable mention goes to visiting the Rat Islands (Kiska), I enjoy history and it is such an interesting and remote location.

Anchorage, Alaska
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6. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

In no particular order:

(1) Driving in & out of AK (Jun/July 2005, Mar/2009, Aug/2011).

(2) Seeing whales harvested in Barrow.

(3) Trek on the Matanuska Glacier

(4) Fall (late summer) flight see to Denali with a glacial lake landing (Sep/2008)

(5) everything in the Girdwood/Portage Valley/Whittier area (Byron Glacier, Portage Lake, Whittier, Winner Creek trail/tram, Williwaw camping, Girdwood restaurants, Turnagain Arm, and more)

haines, alaska
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7. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

This is a fun question jwr.......I ran it by Popbear on the way to the post office this morning.....

His number one, two, three, four and five are all the same......

Flying in a float plane, anywhere, just anywhere.......most of the times we were on our way to remote forest service cabins...... have to admit it would be hard to choose which one was the best, though........

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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8. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

My favorite paid tour excursions or places anyone can enjoy:

#1 - shuttle bus ride in Denali National Park

#2 - boat tour of Kenai Fjords National Park

#3 - Riverboat discovery in Fairbanks

#5 - drive from Palmer to the Matanuska glacier - one of my most favorite drives in the state.

#5 - the Alaska train & the ferry - I do love riding the train, though I don't often recommend it because of its limitations. I have only been on the ferry system through the SE once, but I loved it.

My favorite experiences may or may not be "available" for tourists, but come from living here most of my adult life:

Driving the Alcan & Cassiar to get to this vast state.

Berry picking out near Wonder Lake in the fall and watching grizzly bears almost every day when I lived in the park.

Clamming in Ninichik - playing in the tide pools and watching all the bald eagles soaring around.

Being on the water - I love the ocean life in Alaska and I never get enough, since I live in the Interior!

Watching the aurora on a cold winters night - my best aurora experience was driving home from Fairbanks - at a spot btw Nenana and Healy - the sky was filled with colors as they danced around - I will never forget that time as it was just magical! :)

Seattle, Washington
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9. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

>> ...the sky was filled with colors as they danced around... <<

Did you know that the Gaelic name for the aurora translates as "the dancing men?"

Ashland, Illinois
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10. Re: Top 5 Alaska experiences

1 - Hiking along Wonder Lake at midnight to get a photo as the last rays of sunset turned Denali gold and pink--then suddenly the full super moon appeared by Mt. Brooks. (Yes, the print is now hanging on my wall.)

2 - Mingling with coastal brown bears at Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark National Park. Thank you Brian (our great young guide) for the most amazing two days of my life.

3 - 11 days and nights on the Baranof Dream, a small ship in the Alaska Dream Cruise fleet. Kahook, our native guide, and the entire crew showed me and 41 other passengers so many sides of the native and natural history of the South East.

4 - My first salmon fishing adventure with friend Jerry in Sitka. Not only did I bring home a cooler full of fillets, but we had an extremely rare clear view of the Fairweather mountains over 100 miles to the north.

5 - Exploring and photographing Denali with the naturalist guides of North Face Lodge. Their love of that special place comes through in all the ways they help you learn.